Biography of Sri Chinmoy - Part 4

Service to World Harmony

Service Continued...

The founding in 1987 of the annual World Harmony Run, a popular six continent torch relay that has involved millions of people in its eight editions and helped to foster a growing culture of international understanding and goodwill, particularly among the children of the world.

Sri Chinmoy
Pope John-Paul II

One of the most popular initiatives Sri Chinmoy has undertaken, the World Harmony Run has expanded into peace studies curricula in schools and involves many world class athletes and Olympians, civic and political leaders and thousands of diverse community groups. The Harmony Torch has been held by many notable world figures including Pope John Paul II, Mother Teresa, Nelson Mandela, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Queen Elizabeth II, the Dalai Lama, Carl Lewis, Paul and Linda McCartney, Roberta Flack, Jon Bon Jovi, and the Kings, Presidents or Prime Ministers of many countries. The World Harmony Torch has been to outer space in the Russian spaceship Mir and been used to light Millennium beacons and the Eternal Flame of Peace at the 50th anniversary celebration of the end of World War II in Europe.

World Harmony Run Group

"We are trying to serve God in a special way, and the peace-loving souls who are encouraging us whole-heartedly deserve my ever-blossoming gratitude. World harmony, world peace: these are not mere dictionary words. These are the realities, divine realities and supreme realities. For all of us who are aspiring to become good citizens of the world, our Harmony Run is a supremely important inspiration to us all." - Sri Chinmoy.

In 1970, at the request of U Thant, the third Secretary-General of the United Nations, Sri Chinmoy founded a non-denominational programme at the United Nations in New York which offers meditations for world harmony, interfaith programmes and cultural activities for UN delegates, staff members and special guests.

Sri Chinmoy meeting U Thant
Sri Chinmoy

In 1991 Sri Chinmoy established an international humanitarian aid organisation, The Oneness-Heart-Tears and Smiles, which now sends medical, pharmaceutical and educational supplies to over 120 countries. This initiative specialises in meeting specific country aid requirements and has fostered a network of aid programmes and support services. The Oneness-Heart-Tears and Smiles has developed a popular Kids-to-Kids programme in which participating donor schools in one country send educational supplies and essential items to their counterparts in other countries. "Our humanitarian service is not our self-motivated, condescending act of charity to the poor and the needy. It is a gigantic opportunity to feed, nourish and strengthen our own poor brothers and sisters so that they can, side by side, march along with us to proclaim the world-oneness-victory of God the Creation." – Sri Chinmoy.

Sri Chinmoy began weightlifting in 1985 at the age of 54. Specialising in both one-arm lifts and the standing and seated calf-raise, since 1986 Sri Chinmoy has performed many unusual lifts and feats of strength with one purpose in mind – to encourage others to believe in and explore their own unlimited potential, in whatever field of life. He describes this core belief as 'self-transcendence', the capacity of each and every human being to surpass their imagined limitations. On a custom built standing calf-raise machine, Sri Chinmoy has lifted elephants, sailboats, helicopters, Lear jets, grand pianos, trucks and mounted Canadian policemen, to name a few. The novelty and inspiration he has brought to weightlifting have resulted in enduring friendships with many strength athletes – and inspired a renewed interest and understanding of the body-mind, physical-spiritual connection. "My lifting is all done on the strength of my heart's oneness with the world. What I wish to show by these feats of strength is that prayer and meditation can definitely increase one's outer capacity... When we transcend ourselves, we do not compete with others, we do not compete with the rest of the world, but at every moment we compete with ourselves. We compete only with our previous achievements. And each time we surpass our previous achievements, we get joy." – Sri Chinmoy.

Sri Chinmoy weightlifting
Sri Chinmoy with David Lange

Sri Chinmoy has also founded a unique award programme called Lifting Up the World with a Oneness-Heart which acknowledges the achievements of people who, in many diverse fields of endeavour have helped to uplift or inspire humanity. Over 7,000 individuals, including Heads of State and Government, Olympic athletes, UN leaders and Nobel Laureates have received this award. Sri Chinmoy lifts each recipient overhead with one arm on a specially constructed platform. Pictured left is the late David Lange – New Zealand's Prime Minister from 1984 to 1989 – receiving a plaque from Sri Chinmoy after being lifted.

Establishing an outreach organisation of some 400 centres worldwide – the Sri Chinmoy Centre – to serve the world community. For more detail, please visit Biography of Sri Chinmoy – Part 2. Sri Chinmoy has been awarded many national and international honours in recognition of his major contribution to world harmony. In 1989 Sri Chinmoy inspired the international Sri Chinmoy Peace-Blossoms programme.

Sri Chinmoy with the Gorbachevs

Sri Chinmoy greets Mikhail Gorbachev and Raisa Maximovna

This initiative has seen the dedication of some 800 natural wonders, noted landmarks and significant places to world harmony. Each Peace-Blossom is marked by a commemorative plaque and is intended to provide an inspirational focal point for harmony in communities worldwide. Many nations and cities are involved in the Sri Chinmoy Peace-Blossoms programme and support its commitment to fostering a brighter future for mankind.

Next: Biography of Sri Chinmoy – Part 5